Art. Sustainability. Activism. Panel Discussion

Monday, March 28, 2022, 7 p.m. | Bowker Auditorium

Free event | Register here for in person attendance | Livestream below

Continuing our annual partnership with the UMass School of Earth & Sustainability and the MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Please join us for this unique meeting of minds working at the intersection of climate change, literature, and social justice.

This event will be a lively discussion that connects an exciting mix of scientists, artists, changemakers, and scholars. Topics will include climate impacts on culture, the power of Indigenous knowledge, and how science and art communities can work together to address the pressing issues of our time.

Featured guests include international artist producers from Small Island Big Song.

Free and open to the public. This event will also be livestreamed onto this webpage. Questions asked through YouTube in real time will reach the moderator.


Noy HollandNoy Holland is the 2018 recipient of the Katherine Anne Porter prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She is the author of the novel Bird, and four collections of short fiction, The Spectacle of the Body, What Begins with Bird, Swim for the Little One First, and I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like: New and Selected Stories. Holland has been a professor in the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts since 1997. She currently serves as the faculty advisor for the interdisciplinary journal Paperbark, and joins faculty and staff across campus and disciplines to shepherd the Art Sustainability Activism collaboration.


Panel Participants

Kim BlaeserKimberly Blaeser, poet, photographer, and scholar, is a past Wisconsin Poet Laureate and founding director of In-Na-Po, Indigenous Nations Poets. The author of five poetry collections including Copper Yearning, Apprenticed to Justice, and the bilingual Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance, Blaeser is an Anishinaabe activist and environmentalist and an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation. A professor at the Univerity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA faculty member at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, she lives in rural Wisconsin, and, for portions of each year, in a water-access cabin near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Additional information is available on her website.

BaoBao ChenBaoBao Chen, manager, project producer. Having negotiated, booked, planned and tour-managed several successful international concert tours across Europe, the USA, Asia and Oceania, involving up to 13 artists from 8 countries, whilst releasing a music album, creating an interactive website and bringing a feature film to screen, BaoBao is one of Taiwan’s most prominent producers of cross-cultural arts projects.
With a B.A. in Business Management from YuanZe University in Taiwan, BaoBao has realised Small Island Big Song project from the  grassroots up, fundraising through crowdfunding, philanthropic bodies and arts grants along with initiating the project’s Fair Trade Music  structure and recognition of Intangible Cultural Heritage. As a vivid storyteller and fluent in English and Mandarin, she has a social media following of 150K+, and has been invited to present at TEDx, APAP NYC, WOMEX, World Stage Design and numerous film and music festivals. She was brought up by a vegan family on an organic farm and was a member of the Roots and Shoots program of the Jane Goodall Foundation. It was her skills in arts management and her love for nature that founded Small Island Big Song.

Tim ColeTim Cole, director, music producer, VJ, is an Australian creative who has been working on cross-cultural arts projects with music at the
heart since producing Not Drowning Waving’s album and DVD ‘Tabaran’ in Papua New Guinea. Skills developed whilst studying film-making at Melbourne University during the day, and producing music at night, which led to a career of equal parts film and music. His reputation in Indigenous arts led him to Alice Springs as Senior Music Producer for CAAMA - Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. It was the experience here recording traditional songlines, whilst hearing the 5th IPCC report, which led to the founding of ‘Small Island Big Song’. Tim holds a BEd. in Media Arts from Melbourne University and A.D. in Music Production from the University of Victoria in Australia and has received a Churchill fellowship and invitation to speak on climate change and the arts at the United Nations, APAP NYC, WOMEX, along with industry recognition through numerous awards for projects he has played a key creative role on.

Andy DanylchukAndy J. Danylchuk, professor of fish conservation, Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst
Throughout his life, Danylchuk has been on a personal crusade to ensure that fish are around for future generations to enjoy, whether on the end of a fishing line, on a dinner plate, or simply to watch in wonder. Danylchuk's work spans both marine and freshwater systems, and broadly examines how fish responded to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Much of Danylchuk’s current research focuses on evaluating the potential impacts of recreational angling on fish populations and working with user groups to develop best practices for catch-and-release, including for fish species in the Indo-Pacific. Danylchuk is an award-winning educator, spokesperson, and advocate for positively affecting change when it comes to fish and the complex social-ecological systems they are nested in.  
For more information visit his website.

Selina LeemSelina Leem is a spoken word poet and climate activist from the Marshall Islands and a performer with Small Island Big Song. Selina is among the global faces of climate change, representing her country in the film ‘Before the Flood’ produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and as the youngest speaker at the COP21 for Paris Agreement, making a passionate plea to global leaders for stronger action on climate change. Selina can push her audience into a place of understanding and care for her homeland, whilst making them look into the future and see the repercussions of current global actions. Her spoken word pieces have been heard across the globe, and form the narrative of the show.

Elly O'Leary Elly O'Leary (she/her) is a fiction writer and second-year candidate in the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After earning her BA in English from Harvard University, she worked in journalism and entertainment. Since arriving at UMass, she has read for The Massachusetts Review and for the Juniper Prizes for fiction and creative nonfiction. She is a member of Paperbark Magazine's editorial staff and currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.


This and the following events are part of Art. Sustainability. Activism., a collaboration between the Fine Arts Center, the MFA for Poets and Writers, and the School of Earth & Sustainability. Please join us for the full weekend of events.


Eco Lit: Readings from Paperbark magazine and The Massachusetts Review

Saturday, March 26, 2022 | 1 p.m. | Augusta Savage Gallery | Free event

paperbark cover image and title

Paperbark, a collaborative and interdisciplinary magazine shepherded by students, faculty, and staff across the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus, publishes criticism, art, poetry, and prose engaged with the environmental humanities. Paperbark will celebrate the launch of Issue 03, in conjunction with the publication of The Massachusetts Review's climate issue Recent contributors to each magazine will read from their work: poetry and prose that shed light on ecologies in crisis. We'll open the floor to questions generated by the audience following the reading. 

Artwork by Michelle Samour                     Register here     


Eco Lit: Kimberly Blaeser

Saturday, March 26, 2022 | 6 p.m. | John Olver Design Building | Free event

Kim BlaeserPoet and prose writer Kimberly Blaeser will read from past and current work. Formerly the Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Blaeser is the author of five poetry collections including Copper Yearning, Apprenticed to Justice, and Résister en dansant/Ikwe-niimi: Dancing Resistance.  A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor and MFA faculty for Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, Blaeser is founding director of In-Na-Po—Indigenous Nations Poets.  Santee Frazier, visiting faculty in poetry in the MFA for Poets and Writers, will moderate a Q&A following the reading. 

Register here